Is there a better name for "citizen science"?

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In summary: It is my understanding that this type of "citizen-scientist" is increasingly rare, if not non-existent, in our current era.
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Couchyam
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The term Citizen Science has, at least according to wikipedia, existed for at least several decades. Is it time to come up with a hip new 21st century moniker? Or are we happy with "Citizen Science" as it is?
 
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From your source:
"Citizen scientist" is defined as: (a) "a scientist whose work is characterized by a sense of responsibility to serve the best interests of the wider community (now rare)"; or (b) "a member of the general public who engages in scientific work, often in collaboration with or under the direction of professional scientists and scientific institutions; an amateur scientist".

My understanding of the term 'citizen scientist' resides primarily in the first definition. Citizen scientist denoted responsible search for knowledge of benefit to the body politic with connotations of professional ethics. If, as the encyclopedia authors note, this definition has become rare, then perhaps the shift in meaning toward amateur collaborators has already happened.
 
  • #3
It just occurred to me that one potentially crucial distinction between Citizen Science and Amateur Science is that the word 'citizen' suggests a kind of civic connection that might not always exist in the amateur setting, and which could be understood in various ways (for example, that the science is in service of society, or that it is accountable to some kind of government or community oversight.) Might there be potentially significant differences in what options are available to respect (or even completely understand) accountability, between amateur and citizen science?
 
  • #4
Couchyam said:
Might there be potentially significant differences in what options are available to respect (or even completely understand) accountability, between amateur and citizen science?
I commend your emphasis on accountability as opposed to arguing priority or for credit for a discovery or technological advancement. Examples from the history of science may be illuminating.

Prior to USA official involvement on the side of the Allies in WWII, a group of students and young scientists approached a physics professor at UC Berkeley, J. Robert Oppenheimer, to evaluate emerging technology including radio and radar, with potential wartime significance and to notify government officials. This was a separate endeavor from Leo Szilard's "Einstein letter" warning President Roosevelt about the dangers posed by nuclear fission experiments.

At that time much electronic and aerodynamic science and engineering involved amateur societies around the world who would trade data, information and equipment designs. These amateur groups often included a prestigious professional in the field, not just for the attached respect, but for improved access to information and to help keep their efforts on track. Oppenheimer advised both amateur physics societies and graduate students including members who would later join him in the Manhattan Engineering Project.

Fast forward to the aftermath of WWII where Oppenheimer steadfastly accepted responsibility for the development and deployment of Allied nuclear weapons. Oppenheimer went on record, much to the detriment of his professional career, opposing development and proliferation of thermonuclear weapons. Oppenheimer used his office as head of the Atomic Energy Commission to direct efforts toward peaceful use of atomic energy.

Oppenheimer represents the quintessential 'citizen-scientist'; leading and advising amateur and professional scientists, mathematicians and engineers; always accountable in public for the results of his actions.
 
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Related to Is there a better name for "citizen science"?

1. What is citizen science?

Citizen science is a form of scientific research where members of the general public actively participate in data collection, analysis, and interpretation. This allows for a larger and more diverse group of individuals to contribute to scientific discoveries and advancements.

2. Why is the term "citizen science" being questioned?

Some individuals have raised concerns that the term "citizen science" may be exclusive or imply that only certain individuals can participate. This has sparked a discussion about finding a more inclusive and accurate term.

3. What are some proposed alternatives to "citizen science"?

There are several proposed alternatives such as community science, public participation in scientific research (PPSR), and crowd-sourced science. These terms aim to broaden the scope of who can participate and emphasize the collaborative nature of this type of research.

4. How important is it to find a better name for "citizen science"?

The discussion about finding a more inclusive and accurate term for "citizen science" is important as it can help remove barriers and encourage more diverse participation in scientific research. It also highlights the need for inclusivity and diversity in the scientific community.

5. Who gets to decide on a new name for "citizen science"?

The decision on a new name for "citizen science" ultimately lies with the scientific community and those involved in this type of research. However, it is important to consider the feedback and perspectives of diverse individuals and communities to ensure a more inclusive and accurate term is chosen.

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